Walking Dead aims for long run. Plus: Smith, Jay-Z announce Annie project. Superman heads for Alberta. New Green Lantern image and more! It's your Comics2Film T minus 2!
The Calgary Herald paper reports that Alberta may be one of the locations for the upcoming Superman movie, crafted by producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder.
Culture minister Lindsay Blackett told the paper they had signed a deal for a mega-budget studio movie looking to do about $35 million worth of business in Alberta, but stopped short of naming the film or the studio. An official announcement will be made in the next few months. The timing would sync up with Snyder's timeline, which would see press on Sucker Punch starting to wind down around that time.
Insiders also tell the Herald that all indications are the film in question is Superman.
Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely is having fun milking the press cycle for the purported film adaptation of his Canadian answer to Captain America. Hot on the heels of news that Marvel's superhero movie will undergo a name change in less western-friendly countries, Comely has told The Hollywood Reporter that his Canadian hero flick will need to switch titles for U.S. audiences.
"Of course we want to get the movie into that [U.S.] market as much as we can. Still, Americans tend to be rather insular. And they’ll say, we already have Captain America," Comely said.
Comely has said he's closed a deal with a Canadian producer to render a $15million film based on his comics which began in the 1970s. He goes on to explain the cultural resistance he expects from his country's southern neighbors.
"The reality is many Americans think we’re pretty boring. They just think of us not shooting each other much, we’re polite, we live igloos. We’re going to have to figure out a solution," Comely said, adding that he aims to enlist Canadian superstars such as Justin Beiber, Hayden Christensen, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling in the movie, though he's open to casting an unknown.
News of a hip-hop redo of the comics-to-Broadway-to-film smash Annie leaked a few weeks back. Today Overbrook Entertainment officially announced the formation of a new film making partnership with music mogul JAY-Z which will begin with the rumored project. Here's the official press release...
Los Angeles, Calif., January 26, 2011 – Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have formed a joint venture with Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter to develop and produce major motion pictures. One of the projects being discussed is the re-imagination of the classic Broadway musical ANNIE as a vehicle for Willow Smith to star. The film will be developed with Sony Pictures Entertainment and produced by Overbrook Entertainment and Mr. Carter.
The partnership began over dinner with Jada, Will, James Lassiter and JAY-Z, where they decided to co-invest in the now successful beauty products line Carol’s Daughter. They continued this partnership as co-producers of the successful Broadway production Fela!, which earned a total of eleven Tony Award nominations in 2010. Additionally, Willow Smith, managed by OE Executive Miguel Melendez, signed onto JAY-Z’s record label, Roc Nation which produced her first single titled “Whip My Hair," which has been certified Platinum. JAY-Z previously sampled the classic Annie song “It’s the Hard Knock Life” in his chart-busting single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”
"The time is right to bring back ANNIE to the big screen. Of course, we’re true believers in Willow's talent and believe she will be perfect in this role,” said Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad. “Combining Willow with the Overbrook team that reimagined Karate Kid and the spectacular JAY-Z makes this a dream project. A decade ago, JAY-Z proved that the power of the underlying Broadway property remains, by showing how these songs could be reinterpreted for a new generation with Hard-Knock Life. We couldn't be more thrilled to be working with our friends at Overbrook as they launch this new venture.”
"We are excited to partner together to develop and produce a wide variety of films with our longtime friend JAY-Z, with whom we share a common global vision, both commercially and philosophically, and look forward to collaborating once again with the incredibly talented executives at Sony,” said Overbrook Co-Founder James Lassiter.
Stated Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter, "The Overbrook Entertainment family and I have a unified vision. We've already produced a Tony Award winning play and we're developing a true superstar in Willow. This venture into film development and production is a perfect next step with teams that are accomplished, creative, and innovative.”
MTV Splash Page has a video interview with actor James McAvoy, who talks a bit about his role as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class.
He doesn't reveal anything substantive about the movie, so we won't bother to quote him. However, the interview is fairly amusing as he expresses his man crush on Patrick Stewart and then offers his impersonation of the man whose shoes he is trying to fill. He also demonstrates why Xavier has the unsexiest mutant power for an actor to have.
And...the lovely Erica Durance guides you into the final stretch of Smallville with a preview of events that begin Friday night at 8pm on The CW.
There's a new photo of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern on the cover of the latest issue of the Singapore-based "F*** Magazine".
The movie itself opens in theaters June 17th, 2011.
Walking Dead Producer Gale Anne Hurd addressed a crowd at this week's National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference in Miami and fielded some questions about the show.
When asked whether the show's creative producers Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman thought of the show as finite (a la Lost) Hurd revealed that the creator of the comic series hopes the show has a very, very long run.
"Robert Kirkman has said that he hopes it's the series that challenges The Simpsons," Hurd said in comments summarized by Variety.
Fox's flagship cartoon is the longest-running primetime series in the history of American Television, currently enjoying a staggering 22nd season on the air.
Hurd also added that shows like Walking Dead are very appealing to theatrical filmmakers like Darabont who can accomplish things in the format that they cannot do in movies. "A lot of filmmakers who are attracted to television right now are interested in serialized drama. They're interested in morally ambiguous characters."
A second season of The Walking Dead airs on AMC later this year.
Rob M. Worley is the writer and creator of the all-new, all-cat kids comic book series Scratch9, named by School Library Journal as one of the "Best Comics for Kids 2010"! Issues #1, #2, #3 and #4 are in stores now. The paperback collection is coming in March and available for pre-order . Visit Scratch9.com for news and info!